Finding Him in Someone Else
When my friend told me she was moving into a group house with two guys and two other girls, I didn’t even think to consider either of the dudes as dating options. The first assumption was that they would have girlfriends (it’s always my first assumption). The second assumption is that I wouldn’t be interested. Which is weird. Since, well, I’m typically always interested.
So when moving day came and this fresh-faced, attractive, fit as hell guy was hauling my friend’s furniture into the moving truck, I was perplexed. Is *this* this presumably taken, uninteresting guy that she’ll be living with? Fuuuuuuuuck.
Over the next few hours, we chatted a bit, mostly about these ridiculous hats I had made, where we grew up, a little bit about this start up he was running out of the new house, and certainly not about how attracted I was to him. I wasn’t sure if you could call it flirtation, but I made a point to be as helpful as possible, and as charming as possible which was exhausting given how hard it is for me to be charming at all. At the end of the move, I went home. No numbers exchanged. No harm. No foul.
I knew enough about him. He’s Indian (I had deduced as much), had graduated from college 4 years ago from a good school, is a sport junkie, into the tech scene, and had an incredible business acumen. Oh, and he’s hilarious. I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but group texts about the move turned into one on one texts about tech meet ups, which turned into long text conversations about everything. There was mention of dating, how it’s nice that after 25, people started to get more serious about dating. I concurred. It never occurred to me to ask which side of 25 he was on.
Text conversations turned into a coffee date. “I hate that you’re so young,” I confessed. “And I hate that you’re her roommate.” “Why’s that?” he asked. I took a breath and I told him. I said it wasn’t a good idea to pursue anything because it could get weird at the house if things went well of if things didn’t. I never stopped to ask if he felt the same, if he felt anything, but as we sat on the couch talking about business and life and goals and passions, it seemed like the attraction was unspoken but understood. He didn’t say much except that he didn’t agree. That it wouldn’t have to be weird. But then it was time to go. So he left. We hugged. It was the closest kind of hug, hips together, arms wrapped tight. I could have stayed there forever.
At his house a few days later, I wished him a happy birthday, I told him that it felt great to get older. If 25 was good, 26 would be better. His friend standing with him said, “She doesn’t know, does she?” I was so confused. “24,” he said. “Huh?” I was confused. “He’s turning 24.”
Mortified. He was a child. The question is, does it matter? The concerns continued to mount: Roommate, Young, Not Jewish. Granted, my decision to date only Jews lasted until the first Jew I really liked ended up being a dud. As boring and self-absorbed as I had dreaded. But this was really not good.
You can fix a lot of things – bad dresser, bad manners, bad kissing… but can you fix young? No matter how mature a person is (and is he ever!) there are certain things that just can’t be learned in school or at work. There is a shift in perspective that happens over time as the scrappiness melts away and you take a seat at the table of curmudgeons. Not to say I’m not still upwardly mobile, but I’m really content in the static moments of my life, no longer chasing butterflies and playing drinking games and trying to run this town.
So the plans we had made were canceled, by me, with no explanation. I needed to back away. Pursuing him knowing I didn’t see a future felt selfish. Inappropriate. But do I ever miss him. The chats. Our banter. His smile. I feel like this is a mature decision, to recognize what I loved so much about him and find him, find it, in someone else.